As you probably noticed the articles recommended
in the Oxygen post were written in 2000/2001 by
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and one of his associates. Eight years
later, in September 2009 Shmuley published a book called The
Michael Jackson tapes.
Is the book worth reading? My answer to the question is YES,
but definitely WITHOUT Shmuley´s comments on Michael´s
You can find the comment-free version in the internet
see here, for example:
tapes Fan´s version
WHY WITHOUT HIS COMMENT? Because Shmuley is absolutely
NO friend to Michael Jackson and most probably was NEVER one.
His today´s vision of Michael is flat, distorted and hopelessly
outdated as they were not on speaking terms for 9 years since
their relationship fell apart sometime in 2001. Shmuley claims
that Michael desperately wanted the book out but
it speaks volumes that the book was not published while Michael
was alive, same as it speaks volumes about Shmuley that he made
it only 3 months after Michael was gone.
Even if Michael did record the tapes for some joint project
of theirs the man should have been given the grace and honor
to be the sole narrator in the book with the editor
or co-author being extremely delicate with the precious material
he was handling. The tapes are beautiful enough to speak for
themselves and interjecting comments on the deceased man´s
confessions is the highest form of disrespect which can
be shown by anyone to any person´s memory at all. And
the fact that this was done by a rabbi makes it only worse
Shmuley clearly wanted to capitalize on Michael´s death
in terms of money and publicity same as he expected their
relationship to bring more attention to himself when Michael
was alive and they were still on friendly terms. All this is
a clear indication to me that any comments he may be offering
on Michael´s confessions are of very little value and
are highly questionable to say the least.
BUT WHY IS IT A YES ANSWER THEN? Because no matter what
Shmuley´s initial desire was, the opportunity to listen
to Michael´s innermost thoughts gives us a bigger than
ever chance to marvel at the wonderful and amazing personality
Michael was despite all that Shmuley´s simplistic
judgment, impossible arrogance and self-aggrandizing. The possible
reason for this is that no lie can compete with the truth when
standing side by side with it the thing which is really
genuine will always stand out
And it is Michael´s
genuine nature that has so miraculously turned Shmuley´s
dubious intentions into something really good.
Yes, despite all Shmuley´s misconceptions AND his grandiose
effort to add even more wrong to them at every venue he attended
AND despite the mighty desire of the media to promote the freak
image of Michael they are so obsessed with in short despite
all the usual harassment cannonade in the joint war against
one deceased man the effect of Michael Jackson´s words
on those tapes is SO powerful that the morning after reading
all that crap you are amazed to remember nothing but his
In full earnest did I check my memory for details of those interviews
which I read last night again and was amazed to find that though
the feeling of disgust was still there, all that pygmy journalistic
fuss over Michael´s words had somehow evaporated from
my mind while Michael´s part remained very much
The only things remembered were his joys and hopes, his love
and solidarity with other people´s pain, and his own deep
anguish and torments he continuously faced and endured
the terrible abuse he suffered from that tyrant
the pangs of maturing any young man experiences
loneliness Michael was doomed to by his fame, which he tried
to cope with by keeping mannequins in his room
memories of his Jewish woman tutor
his tears when hearing
the AIDS victim boy speak of the clothes he wanted to be buried
the battle with Lisa-Maria over the children he visited
his anger at her slamming the telephone on some
sick children who called him
his admiration for Princess
Diana as a really his type of a woman
feeling of the fireworks going off when he was holding a hand
of the girl he loved
his very true comments on what some
women are like and the shocking kind of a girl Madonna was 10
years ago and his prediction of her changing when she becomes
a mother (the transformation she is indeed undergoing)
and at the end of it all that prank with tea poured into a whisky
bottle and him drinking it glass after glass to crack the atmosphere
of tedious business talks
Oh, so much of everything
so fresh, real, genuine and so human in comparison with
the cold sneer of those journalists and condescension from Shmuley
whose interviews managed to make a complete different story
out of the very same thing!
Considering that those tapes were made in private and were probably
never meant for the public eye (or were supposed to be at least
edited, corrected and approved) we are actually lucky that Michael
turned out to be such an INNOCENT AND PURE SOUL that he didn´t
say anything embarrassing, shameful or regretful any of us would
have said or incidentally dropped under the circumstances. Just
imagine yourself talking for some 30 hours with someone you
believe to be a friend and how much nonsense you can tell him
in all those hours. I shudder at the thought that such a friend
might afterwards show sorry, sell these ramblings
to the general public without ever apologizing or having the
decency to offer a little bit of the profit he is thus gaining
to the real author or his kin
* * * * *
Below is Shmuley´s PORTFOLIO based on the interviews he
gave before and after Michael´s death. If any of you still
doubt that Shmuley was no friend to Michael Jackson, this read
is for you.
The interview with Meredith Vieira of NBS of September 25,
2009 is a complete masterpiece in terms of distorting the image
of Michael Jackson by both sides to the conversation. Shmuley´s
comments are a marvel of course, but I also thought it necessary
to single out the voice-overs and group them together to show
that they are absolutely open in shaping public opinion against
Michael even before Shmuley says anything at all:
DATELINE NBC, Sept. 25, 2009
By Meredith Vieira
Author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach a relationship expert who
calls himself America´s Rabbi calls
it The King Of Pop Raw, exposed like never before.
As he opened up to the rabbi, Jackson could sound narcissistic.
Forget the mask, the chimp, the baby dangling, and any
other eccentric behavior we already know about. Here, Jackson
talks openly about his oddest and saddest habits.
Michael Jackson: I needed someone. That´s probably
why I had, uh, the mannequins, I would say. Because I felt I
needed people, I love them, it makes me feel like I am in a
room with people.
Meredith Vieira: What did you see?
Rabbi Shmuley: Indescribable pain. Tremendous remorse
Even back in 2001, Michael Jackson seemed to be drowning
in an ocean of despair. In fact, the only thing that seemed
to keep him going was his love for children.
was a place where innocence and darkness would collide as the
real motives behind the King Of Pop´s connection to children
raised unsettling questions.
But it was a mission Jackson
seemed to take to an extreme even telling the rabbi he
sees himself as a universal father who has the power to heal
Meredith Vieira: All of the attraction that he had
to children, and the attention that he paid to children, you
believe all of it was innocent?
Rabbi Shmuley: I don´t know. What was certainly
true is that he wasn´t a monster. He may have done something
that was unforgiveable even, but that didn´t make him
If the King Of Pop was drawn to children, he was often
shy and awkward with women, as you´ll hear in candid revelations
about his celebrity dates, and crushes, from Madonna to Brooke
Shields to Princess Diana.
On Tape, Michael Jackson is
a man full of contradictions.
Reflective and grateful
at times, so self-absorbed and brazen at others, that he sounds
almost delusional about his power.
Meredith Vieira: On the one side, he seems to be very
self-loathing, hates what he sees in the mirror, insecure. On
the other hand, he paints himself to be somebody who could heal
sick children, who could turn Hitler around.
Rabbi Shmuley: Unbelievable statements. He was either
showing me an incredibly wholesome side that made you fall in
love with the kind of person he was, or a strange, bizarre dimension
messiah complex. Insatiable for attention.
When it comes to women, the King Of Pop sounds especially
conflicted. He describes his mom Katherine as nothing short
Meredith Vieira: And yet, when he talks about other
women, you got the sense that he didn´t trust women.
Rabbi Shmuley: Michael exhibited tendencies of misogyny.
That women are materialistic, that women want things from you.
Jackson describes women as manipulative, disappointing.
For a 42-year-old man, the immaturity that comes across
on Michael Jackson´s tapes is startling. Sometimes, he
sounds just like a teenager.
Had he been able to muster
up the courage, Jackson told Rabbi Shmuley there was a certain
princess who would have been at the top of his list.
Meredith Vieira: Did you get the feeling talking to him
that he ever got beyond that sort of that adolescent approach
to romance, the kind of giggly, almost kid-like?
Rabbi Shmuley: For me, it was actually something, you
know, it was a blessing to see such a famous man saying that
holding hands was suddenly so special.
One thing was clear though to the rabbi, Jackson
seemed incapable of sustaining any meaningful relationship with
a woman. And with no adult love in his life, was the writing
on the wall?
He talked about vanishing. Michael Jackson: I would
like to some kind of way disappear, where people don´t
see me anymore.
His fear of growing old. Michael Jackson: I just
don´t want to look old and start forgetting.
And hauntingly, his own death. He couldn´t stand the thought
of himself with gray hair and at 42, Michael Jackson
was already fixated on his final resting place. Michael
Jackson: I want to be buried right where there´s children.
I would feel safer that way. I want them next to me. I need
Meredith Vieira: There are a number of comments that
Michael made to you in these tapes that in light of his premature
death are eerie.
Rabbi Shmuley: Michael said to me constantly, If
I can´t help kids, then I will find a way to terminate
Meredith Vieira: Did he have a death wish?
Rabbi Shmuley: He lost the will to live.
In 2001, after counseling Michael Jackson for two years
and capturing 30 hours of his innermost thoughts on tape
Rabbi Shmuley cut ties with the star. He says the King
Of Pop was slipping from his reach, so lured by the pull of
fame and the seduction of pain numbing drugs that
he completely lost interest in their philanthropic projects.
Rabbi Shmuley: For two years, I really felt that I was making
headway in helping Michael restructure his life, but once I
saw that Michael was treating my advice as if I were a nuisance.
I had to end our relationship. Was I gonna applaud as he slowly
self-immolated? If I´m just another someone who´s
afraid to tell him that he´s got to stop doing drugs,
then what was I doing there?
Rabbi Shmuley: If I had gone back, Meredith, not only
would I not have helped him, I would have been dragged into
that destructive vortex, and I would have needed help.
Meredith Vieira: Your initial reaction to his death was
Rabbi Shmuley: My first reaction was, you stupid, stupid
man, how could you do this? How could you orphan your children?
Your children have no mother.
Rabbi Shmuley: What hurt me most is that Michael threw
away his life, and God endowed this special man with talent
that the rest of us could only dream of. Why did it have to
It is Michael Jackson´s own voice, his own words, his
deeply personal revelations that now make the rabbi hopeful
that in some way America can make sense of his death, that we
can learn something
Read the full text: Taped
talks between King of Pop, spiritual adviser
* * * * *
NO ONE will ever be able to learn anything at all with information
guru and spiritual advisers like that. However Shmuley is greatly
pleased with this interview: the general public made
the book and the NBC Dateline Special into an international
phenomenon and arguably the most positive statements about Michael
ever to be released to the public.
Positive statements? After an angry tsunami to them from Michael´s
supporters Shmuley toned down a bit when answering questions
of the Washington Post readers though the misinterpretation
of Michael´s motives and life goals was still there:
THE WASHINGTON POST, October 2, 2009
Pittsburgh, Pa.: What is your response to the autopsy
report that was released to the public yesterday? It stated
that Michael was in relatively good health and that there were
no additional drugs found in his system, which directly contradicts
your claims of him being a prescription drug addict.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Michael himself admitted to an
addiction to prescription drug medication around 1993. As has
been widely reported, he sometimes resorted to painkillers in
order to deal with medical issues. I told him that he had to
learn to live with his pain, and make changes in his life, instead
of medicating the pain away. I wanted him to address its root
cause. Americans consume three quarters of the world´s
anti-depressants because materialism will never bring happiness.
We have to rediscover spiritual purpose, which is exactly what
I told Michael throughout our friendship.
Pittsburgh, Pa.: On Dateline, you stated that you weren´t
sure if Michael was innocent with regards to the child molestation
charges. After spending two years taping the man how
could you possibly be unsure? Certainly, something would have
tipped you off if he was guilty.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What I have consistently said
is that I never saw anything that would lead me to conclude
that Michael could ever harm a child.
Ashburn, Va.: You had plenty of time to publish the book
before the 2003 arrest. It could have saved his life to get
his message out to the public. Why didn´t you publish
this book in 2002? It feels that you are just another one in
a long line of people who exploited Michael Jackson for your
own personal fame and fortune.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: This book could not have been
published when there was zero sympathy for Michael in the public.
It´s entire purpose was to have people open their hearts
to the real Michael Jackson and judge him more favorably. The
2003 arrest reinforced an already existing view that Michael
was not the person he purported to be. I am sure we all remember
Jackson: The Tapes, the Autopsy
* * * * *
Did you have enough of it?
If you didn´t, here is another remarkable piece from
Shmuley who evidently thinks that Michael never had any serious
ailments despite his lupus, Pepsi burn, fall
from the overhanging platform and injuries to his back, vitiligo
and many other things. Shmuley also attributes the affliction
of Michael´s soul to everything except the REAL cause
of it his 15-year long ruthless and groundless harassment
by the media and the lethal blow delivered to the innocence
of his spirit by the insult of horrible slander.
Not having contact with Michael for the past 9 years Shmuley
speaks of his drug addiction (we all know of from his then lyrics)
as if this was happening only yesterday but not a decade ago.
Let me remind you that the autopsy report did not reveal any
narcotics in his system which means that Michael finally managed
to cope with that problem!
On top of it all Shmuley sheds crocodile tears over the man
whom he portrays as an abuser who may have be guilty of
serious crimes as a result of the abuse he himself sustained
in his childhood. Who needs enemies with friends like that,
I wonder? Interesting to see how Shmuley´s words contradict
the opinion he expressed to the Washington Post only 3 months
later when he said he never saw anything that would lead him
to conclude that Michael could ever harm a child:
JACKSON RABBI-FRIEND: SINGER WAS A TORTURED, TORTURED
June 30, 2009
Brown: Thank you for being here. I want to ask, you were
so concerned by what you saw of Michael Jackson´s drug
use that all the way back in 2004, you told CNN you thought
he´sd die young.
I mean, what did you see that made you feel that way?
Boteach: Well, there was no one around to stop him.
are not going to interfere with what Michael was
trying to do. And what he was trying to do was curb pain.
Michael always thought that he had ailments of the body. He
always had a neck that hurt, a foot that was twisted. Really,
he had an affliction of his soul. He was extremely lonely, he
was extremely unhappy. He felt purposeless, he felt lethargic.
And the way he dealt with that pain and he was especially
afraid of evasion, of that perhaps his best years are behind
And instead of reinventing himself and entering a new phase,
he decided to medicate away his pain. And no human body was
going to — would be able to sustain that kind of assault. This
was inevitable, it was shocking, it´s tragic. But it could
have easily been averted.
And I would say to him, This is poison. This is killing
you. You need to be razor sharp, Michael. And he knew
that it was bad for him. But the next night we had dinner together
and he stood up during dinner and I said, Why don´t
you sit down. He said, Because I took your advice.
My back hurts but I´m not medicating it.
Brown: So, that´s amazing to me. That he would
get high and then he would be medicated before he would perform,
essentially, in front of a crowd. Was he under the influence
of drugs around his kids, also? Boteach: Well, let me
make something absolutely clear: I never saw Michael before
a concert. I never saw him in a concert.
Brown: You talk about the people around him and that
that needs to be followed up on. Who were the good guys? I mean,
was his family trying to get him help? I mean, obviously you
talked to him but what could have been done?
Boteach: Well, let´s be honest. If we in America
want to have an honest conversation about Michael Jackson
who the good guys are
. I tried to be one of the good guys.
Being a good guy meant if you had to risk your relationship
with Michael, that you had to put your relationship on the line
you had to look him in the eye and say, Michael,
you are killing yourself, or Michael, you have
there´s no normality in your life, or “Michael,
you have lost spiritual anchor.
I mean, Campbell, Michael was a very spiritual, religious man.
He was not only a Jehovah´s Witness, he was a missionary.
He used to knock on people´s doors selling Watchtowers.
Then suddenly he fell out with the church. So you had this mega
attention and nothing to balance and nothing to correct it.
Little by little he became more egotistical.
Brown: Rabbi Shmuley, I mean, there have been so many
rumors with regard to this story. What´s the one thing
that you´ve heard that you want to clear up about Michael
Jackson? What should the public know?
Boteach: More than anything else, I want people to understand
as they read all of these very unfortunate stories about Michael.
And let´s face it, Michael may have I don’t know
but may have been guilty of very serious, serious crimes.
I want people to understand that even if it were true and I
have no idea if it is or it isn´t, that this was a tortured,
tortured soul, who from the earliest age did not know love because
he felt that he had to perform to earn love. He lived in permanent
insecurity. He was one of the most tortured souls I ever came
After all the fame and fortune there was a part of him that
we almost could not reach and I would hope that the public,
in judging and assessing Michael Jackson, would do so
knowing that that child star suffered these terrible, terrible
Brown: I do want to ask you, you talk about the accusations
against him, criminal accusations. Did he ever talk to you about
Boteach: Absolutely. He said that they were absolutely
not true. He promised me that he would never be alone with a
child again. So I said to him, even if they´re not true,
Michael, after 1993, you can never be alone with a child. And
he said he understood that. I also told him, you´re not
the children´s messiah. So he always said to me, it wasn´t
true, he could never harm a child, it was all lies, et cetera.
I mean, you know, I knew the child who was the second accuser.
And the second accusation to be honest, I never believed. I
sort of knew the family, I knew the child. I was all around
in the first one and he had no business getting so close to
other people´s children that´s for certain.
But Michael crossed lines all the time. And this is part of
the problem of being a superstar when no one wants to say no
to you and when you simply withdraw from anyone who does say
no to you.
Brown: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, so appreciate your time.
Boteach: Thank you, Campbell. And I hope that people
will remember Michael in the most charitable light.
Read more: Jackson
rabbi-friend: Singer was a tortured, tortured soul
Remember Michael in the most charitable light? AFTER THAT?
What a quintessence of hypocrisy!
* * * * *
Okay, it is time we spoke about the true reasons why their
friendship may have fallen apart and why Michael
no longer had any interest in any philantrophic projects with
Shmuley Boteach and why it was most probably him who cut ties
with Shmuley Boteach. Here are a couple of enlightening articles
on this issue:
Michael Jackson Sold Out by his Friend Shmuley
By: Roger Friedman// September 29, 2009
It´s sort of amazing watching Shmuley Boteach, a rabbi
with no congregation other than an unwitting public, selling
out Michael Jackson. He´s just published a book of interviews
he taped with Michael back in 2000-2001. All the money goes
to Boteach. There´s no charity involved. (Ironically,
Boteach also recently published a book called The Blessing
of Enough: Rejecting Material Greed, Embracing Spiritual Hunger.)
That wasn´t the case in 2000 when I met both Michael and
Boteach together one November night. It was at the home of PR
guru Howard Rubenstein. Boteach had convinced Michael to start
a new charity with him called Time for Kids. They were going
to teach parents to spend time with their children.
There were about 3o people in the Rubensteins´ Fifth Avenue
living room. Boteach gave a long speech about Michael being
the most misunderstood celebrity in the world, said
he loved children so much he had mannequins of them in his Neverland
bedroom. That revelation went over like a lead balloon.
On February 14, 2001, Time for Kids had its first and only get
together, People bought tickets to see Michael, Boteach and
assorted celebrities like Johnnie Cochran, Mother Love, Judith
Regan, Chuck Woolery and Dr. Drew Pinsky talk about spending
more time with children. The event was called Love, Work,
and Parenting: Can You Be a Success in the Bedroom, the Boardroom,
and the Family Room? It was only 70% full. The tickets
were $40, $30, and $20.
Michael told the crowd, when he finally spoke: I´m
having trouble finding a date for myself even though Rabbi Shmuley
tells me he´s going to find me the perfect woman. And
I tell him, as long as it´s not a journalist! Here´s
a transcript of Michael´s speech.
When the accounting for the event finally came in on a Form
990, it showed (I reported then) a total of $203,185 collected
from direct public support. At the same time, the charity´s
expenses totaled $259,432. All but $20,000 of that was spent
on staff salaries and office expenses. No money went to children
of any kind.
Listed on the IRS filing were an organization president, secretary
and treasurer. The latter two, this reporter discovered after
making some calls, were Boteach´s sister and mother. The
sister, Ateret Diveroli, repeated exactly what the mother had:
I´m not part of that anymore.
Mrs. Diveroli insisted to me that her brother was very
honest and had stopped working with Michael Jackson because
nothing was happening. He wasn´t doing anything.
That was pretty much it for Michael and Shmuley´s friendship.
There was a trip to Oxford a couple of months later, but by
June 2001 Jackson´s Invincible album came
out. In September he performed his 30th anniversary shows. Shmuley
was gone. From the time Jackson was arrested in 2003 until his
death, Boteach was out of his life. Jackson surely had no memory
of making tapes with Boteach, and no desire to have them published.
And yet, Shmuley is back. He will flog his short, unheralded
relationship to Michael Jackson for as long as the public
or TV bookers can bear it. The real kicker: that his
publicist sent out press releases yesterday, on Yom Kippur,
offering copies of the book and excerpts. While every other
rabbi in the world was praying, Shmuley Boteach was busy marketing
Michael Jackson for profit. Buyer beware.
Jackson Sold Out by his Friend Shmuley
Another instance of the same problem between them:
JACKSON´S ´EX-RABBI´: DID $100,000 GO TO CHARITY?
April 02, 2004
By Roger Friedman
The list of con men and hustlers who´ve taken advantage
of Michael Jackson continues to grow, especially where charity
causes are concerned. Jackson has been in Washington this week
talking about raising money for new charities, but his old ones
are still dogging him.
You will recall that Jackson was involved in something called
Heal the Kids with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. I´ve
told you before that the most recent filing for Boteach´s
charity, L´Chaim Society, under which Heal the Kids fell,
listed as one of its directors James Meiskin, a man currently
in trouble with the Manhattan District Attorney´s office
But it now turns out that when you call the number for the L´Chaim
Society, all you get is a recorded message that says the charity
is gone and so is the rabbi. There are no forwarding numbers,
according to the message.
You can always hear or see Boteach on TV or radio giving his
opinion about something or other and plugging one of his books.
But one thing he doesn´t seem able to opine is where all
the money went from the short-lived charity. And one person
who might be interested is Denise Rich, who wrote Boteach a
check for $100,000 in the fall of 2000 for the L´Chaim
Society right around the time Boteach and his then pal Michael
Jackson came to two of her own fundraising events.
That $100,000 shows up in the L´Chaim Society´s
2000 tax return. The same return shows no money whatsoever was
spent on anything remotely charitable, just salaries and expenses.
Rich, who is the victim in this case, thought she was giving
the money to one of Jackson´s charities at the time. But
a source of mine who was with Jackson at the time says Jackson
never saw the money or the check. It went straight to Boteach
and the L´Chaim Society.
Boteach who is banned by the United Synagogues in Great
Britian from having a pulpit is best remembered for a
quote he gave the London Independent in 1996. He said there
is an 11th, unwritten Commandment: Thou shalt do anything
for publicity and recognition.
Published in Fox News.
* * * * *
Naturally Shmuley had his own explanation why they were no longer
friends with Michael Jackson. Below is his interview dated November
2003. Please note that in the earlier versions of his story
Shmuley did not insist that it was him who cut ties with Michael
he just said that nothing happened between them.
It is also interesting to mention that TWO years after they
stopped talking to each other he couldn´t say if Michael
was in control of his life or not while NINE years after
the same event he thought he could give an informed opinion
on the very same issue:
RABBI SHMULEY ON JACKSON
Rabbi Boteach agreed to an interview with a Michael Jackson
message board and SJ offers extracts from the interview.
MJboard.com: How is your friendship with Michael nowadays?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: We have no real contact any longer. Nothing
happened between us. Michael went back to the recording studio
and I went back to my own work in teaching, writing, and broadcasting.
We are not in a fight. Our interests went in separate directions.
MJboard.com: What happened to Heal The Kids?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: The initiative was only for one year.
It did very good work and it had completed its mission of trying
to get parents to prioritize their children. When Michael no
longer had time for it there was no way it could continue so
we were happy with the year it functioned and we left it at
MJboard.com: How do you feel about Michael right now?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I feel fine about him. He is a flawed
man, like all of us. And he has a lot of good points, like all
of us. I am, however, very disturbed at what he revealed in
the Martin Bashir interview that he allows boys to sleep in
his bed. That is immoral and unacceptable. I take him at his
word that nothing is happening between him and the boys. But
that doesn´t make a difference. It is utterly unacceptable
for a grown man to sleep in a bed with a boy that is not his
MJboard.com: Are you aware of the fact that some Michael Jackson
fans feel as if you´ve let Michael down.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What an absurd statement. If anything,
the reverse is true. But I´m not going to get into that.
I have not been critical of Michael, aside from condemning his
admission that he takes boys into his bed. So I´m not
going to be critical of him now. Judaism commands me never to
gossip, and I don´t. [ ] I never really comment about
Michael at all because my involvement with him was not about
him as a celebrity, but about the work we did together to help
kids. When that ended, our relationship essentially did as well.
I have no interest in having superstar friends.[ ]
MJboard.com: Do you think Michael is in control of his own life?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: I can not tell because I have not spoken
to Michael in 2 years.
MJboard.com: Didn´t you say something about getting involved
with Michael was one of the biggest mistakes of your life?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: No, I said that I made a mistake in believing
that I needed Michael, or any other celebrity pairing, in order
to get attention for Judaism and promote a Jewish message. And
that is still true. Judaism has shaped the modern world along
with its daughter religions of Christianity and Islam. It does
not need Michael Jackson, or me, or any else, to lend it credibility.
Read more: Rabbi
Boteach on Jackson
And this is what Shmuley´s fellow rabbis think of his
MICHAEL JACKSON´S RABBI
by Rabbi Michael Sternfield, Chicago Sinai Congregation
As a rabbi of over 30 years experience, I was both appalled
and disappointed in the story by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach concerning
his friendship with and impressions of Michael Jackson. In so
many ways, Rabbi Boteach crossed over the line of propriety
and professional ethics.
Rabbis along with other clergy, along with the practitioners
of all the helping professions, are bound by definite rules
of confidentiality. It is precisely this rule which enables
us to assist people who depend upon us to preserve the sacred
bond of trust. What we discuss or experience with people who
seek our assistance are meant to be kept absolutely private.
There are no exceptions. In fact, physicians and lawyers who
violate this trust lose their licenses to practice should their
breach of confidence be discovered. Even when those that we
have counseled or befriended are no longer living, the same
It is only because of this assurance of total confidence that
people feel they can be open with us. All of us in these professions
also understand that there is no real difference between professional
and personal connections. The things we learn or observe in
our personal relations are just as sacrosanct.
I have had numerous experiences with well known people but I
have never spoken and certainly would never write about these
experiences for two reasons. First, it would violate the trust
of these individuals who believed they could be open and candid
with me. Second, it would severely curtail my ability to be
of help to others since they would feel that I was not trustworthy.
When Rabbi Boteach spoke publicly and also wrote about his experiences
with Michael Jackson, he did serious harm to all rabbis and
other clergy as well. No doubt Rabbi Boteach felt he was advancing
his own career and public profile as the rabbi to the
Perhaps he has, but at the expense of his own trustworthiness
and also that of other rabbis. I also must wonder what kind
of friend he really was for him now to exploit Mr. Jackson´s
tragic death with grandstanding.
Rabbi Boteach should have given more thought to the serious
damage he was doing. As he must know, he also violated several
of the sacred principles of our Jewish religion which specifically
prohibit tale-bearing (even when the tales may be true), gossip,
and lashon ha-ra (meaning evil speech).
Rabbi Michael Sternfield, Chicago Sinai Congregation
* * * * *
Yes, Shmuley is surely different from the other rabbis
But see how Shmuley´s distinction is being glorified here:
THE GOSPEL OF SHMULEY, November / December 2005
by Benyamin Cohen
It´s easy to understand why Shmuley Boteach is controversial
among Jews as well as Mormons. To many, he´s only Michael
Jackson´s former spiritual guru. To others, the guy who
penned the controversial 1999 book Kosher Sex (and its 2002
follow-up Kosher Adultery). He lectures around the world, writes
two books a year, as well as a syndicated newspaper column.
To some, he´s the rabbi who was embroiled in a public
debate about morals with a Jewish Playboy cover girl. And now
he´s the rabbi with his own television reality show.
Like Madonna, Britney, Bono and other celebrities he seems so
obsessed with, he´s identified simply by the one-name
Didn´t he defend (then later speak vilely of) Michael
Jackson upon his child molestation accusations? I know
I did the right thing, says Boteach of Salt Lake City.
I don´t regret my decision.
Regrets? Not Shmuley. But what´s he really like, this
devoted father of seven with another on the way? Is it all just
slick packaging, the media painting him as the wild-eyed crazy
Jew? To Shmuley, the answer is a resounding yes. Like Geraldo
and Jerry Springer he believes he´s misunderstood.
From the time I was 16 years old, I promised myself I
would be a defender of Judaism, he explains with the cocksure
confidence of a rabbinic maverick on a mission. [ ] He says
Schneerson recognized his potential and sent the then 22-year-old
to serve as spiritual leader to the students at Oxford University
in London. It was there that Shmuley created the L´Chaim
Society, where he played host to and debated an eclectic group
of some of the world´s leading thinkers, statesmen, and
entertainers including Mikhail Gorbachev, Professor Stephen
Hawking, Shimon Peres, Deepak Chopra, Elie Wiesel, Boy George,
Simon Wiesenthal, and even Michael Jackson.
The Chabad movement, of which Shmuley was associated with, was
none too pleased with his flair for the dramatic. His lavish
lecture series were attracting more non-Jews than Jews and they
felt he needed to be reigned in. The breaking point came in
1994 after Shmuley invited Yitzhak Rabin to speak at Oxford.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe had just died, and the Chabad rabbis in
England strongly opposed the visit on the grounds that Rabin´s
land-for-peace position contradicted the Rebbe´s teachings.
Despite his massive fundraising base, the movement severed ties
A free agent no longer shackled to a higher institutional authority,
Shmuley took the opportunity and ran with it. [ ] All the while
he continued publishing prolifically columns for local
papers, mystical works, and a two volume 922-page set called
Moses of Oxford which weighs in at more than 10 pounds. Much
of what Shmuley was writing was sexually charged, and his no-holds
barred approach shocked many in the Jewish community. In 1999
he published Kosher Sex (some of which was excerpted in Playboy),
the first book to have a rabbi discuss different sexual positions,
bedroom toys, and being, um, master of one´s domain.
London was no longer big enough for the growing celebrity cult
of Shmuley. He moved his family to America where he set up shop
in New York debating ethics with pornographer Larry Flynt,
chaperoning Michael Jackson to an Upper West Side synagogue,
and playing matchmaker for Roseanne´s daughter.
His habit of sidling up to celebrities landed him in the gossip
pages. His focus on sex and celebrities has led many in the
Jewish community to brush Shmuley off as a punch line to a late-night
joke. When asked about his detractors, the rabbi shrugs. I´m
an exponent of Judaism, plain and simple. That´s all I´ve
ever wanted to be. In the background, a bark. It´s
Boteach´s four-year-old Maltese named Marshmellow, a gift
to his kids from Michael Jackson. I go on TV and comment
on culture and show people that Judaism is a force to be reckoned
with. My objective is to get Jewish ideas into the mainstream.
Shmuley is a walking contradiction. Just look at him. His designer
duds clash with his rough and scraggly beard. His apparent obsession
with pop culture doesn´t jive with what we think of as
an Orthodox rabbi.
He´ll tell you that his philosophy on life is not as complex.
His motivations, he says, all stem from one tenet. I believe
we have to make the world more Jewish, he explains. Why
is it accepted that we live in a Christian world? Because of
numbers? That´s an absurd reason.
Shmuley is a man of the people. A rabbi who finds a way to make
a connection. In other words, he´s a rabbi that speaks
to us on our level, not from high aloft an ivory tower. He´s
a rabbi that unabashedly, and with open arms, embraces the best
and worst of pop culture. Janet Jackson. Kinsey. Santa Claus.
Michael Moore. Joe Millionaire. All of it.
So he´s not just Michael Jackson´s rabbi. He´s
got more depth than Sharpton. And, at the end of the day, even
the Mormons will tell you: Shmuley is just Shmuley. And he´s
fine with that.
Read more: The
gospel of Shmuley
The growing celebrity cult of Shmuley, a
former spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, not
just Michael Jackson´s rabbi, Shmuley is a
man of the people
And it was this man who accused
Michael Jackson of being INSATIABLE FOR ATTENTION?
* * * * *
Shmuley claims his book has won universal praise. However
here is the opinion of a reviewer with whose comments 99% of
the Amazon.com readers agreed on the subject of Shmuley´s
30 PIECES OF SILVER,
September 26, 2009
I read this book because I wanted to know Michael Jackson the
person, although it didn´t feel right to pry this much
into someone´s private life. I wish I hadn´t.
I had read Shmuley´s thoughts about MJ on his blog and
knew what was coming, and indeed he didn´t disappoint.
Shmuley´s writing is not so much a reflection of who Michael
Jackson was, but more a reflection of how judgemental he himself
can be. Instead of letting Michael speak for himself, he has
to tack on his own interpretation to everything that Michael
said and did. An interpretation that is judgemental, biased
and sanctimonious to the extreme. He´s so holier-than-thou,
he even puts himself above the court of law!
He delights in pointing out Michael´s faults,
and sees faults where there are none. I find it ironic that
someone who always tried to see the good in others would seek
help from a counsellor who always tries to find bad even in
the good. This speaks more of Michael as one who always believed
that there is good to be found in EVERYone. This is not megalomania,
as Shmuley would put it. It is love. Something that Shmuley
Michael said that people do evil because they had not known
love as a child. If their hearts were filled with love, they
would not feel the need to hurt others. Shmuley was clearly
He openly flogs Michael and uses Michael´s failings
(at least in his mind) to illustrate his preachy morality
tales of just what is wrong with society. (I wonder why
he never writes about the morality of discussing other people´s
personal failings in public?) He even does this to some who
are still living. If he receives a lawsuit out of this, he richly
deserves it. Certainly there is a way to make a point without
demeaning people like this. Crassness has achieved a new level.
Extremely unbecoming, especially for one who calls himself a
man of God.
Above all, it disgusted me how he could make public something
which was shared with him in the strictest of confidence. He
has not only ended his own career as a confessor, he has damaged
the trust that people hold for the clergy and the counselling
profession as a whole. Who knows if something you told your
confessor might one day be blared out for the entire world to
hear? Stripped naked and held up for the world to judge and
ridicule? Leave a legacy to remind your children how you failed
in life? Oh wait, it’s not for the world to judge, because Shmuley
has ALREADY judged and is asking you to part with your money
to hear HIS judgement. Nice
Aren´t counsellors supposed
to listen without judging? And keep your discussions confidential?
What´s that sound? Oh, it´s 30 pieces of silver
One could easily write another book using Shmuley´s life
to illustrate what is wrong with society.
At the time of their conversations, Shmuley was working on writing
Michael´s speech at Oxford and a book for their child
prioritisation initiative a project to encourage parents
to make time for their children. Michael mostly talked about
children, childlike qualities and how adults can break their
conditioning and become more childlike, to return to innocence.
Shmuley used these conversations and some offhand comments for
a whole other purpose instead.
In their conversations, Shmuley does the bulk of the talking
and puts many words into Michael´s mouth. For example,
he uses 80-100 words to ask one question, then Michael responds
with just one: Uh-huh. This happens far more often
than I can stand. If there is something good said by Michael,
it is quickly obliterated by Shmuley´s judgement and hubris.
When discussing spiritual matters, it is quite pitiful to witness
Shmuley´s complete inability to grasp Michael´s
far more mature understanding. Naturally, he overcomes this
with more bluster and hubris.
In this book, you will learn more about Shmuley than Michael
Jackson. There is nothing new at all in here for MJ fans. If
you want to look into Michael´s soul, read Dancing
the dream and forget about this dreck.
Shmuley´s intent is clear to see. He is making a quick
buck off his dear friend. If you think Bashir was
bad, Shmuley is worse. If anything, this book gives an intimate
view into the minds of hangers-on that Michael had suffer with
his whole life those who praise him to his face, then
stab him in the back. Preferably while making a few coins in
the process. Don´t buy this book and give this bloodsucker
If this really was Michael´s idea from the start, why
didn´t Shmuley list Michael as co-author so that Michael´s
children can get half the profits? Self-explanatory!
I truly regret reading this book because it´s going to
take a long time to clear my brain of all that filth.
Michael’s words are fine, it is Shmuley who is insufferable.
Thank you Helena for your generosity
sharing your investigation!